Sunday, May 17, 2015

When Was The Last Time I Was Here?

The view from my seat.
Thursday was another late night in the city as the entire office (at least those not on vacation) headed to the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the Enterprise Awards. While I would much prefer spending the evening with my family at home, it is an evening that only comes around once a year and it offers many of us a chance to catch up with those with whom we rarely have a chance to run in to during the course of our usual week. For me, it is also the event when I can personally thank the person who introduced me to my current employer two years ago. Thankfully the night was uneventful and I didn’t have any encounters with potholes on my way into the city!

I have never been one who has enjoyed driving in the city and I really don’t care much for cities in general (of course, there are exceptions to every rule which has been evident in previous posts).  As I circled around the block and into the parking garage I tried to think about the last time that I had been to the convention center. Unable to think of the event, I corkscrewed up to the 5th level and found a space in close proximity to the 13th Street elevator.

As I got out of the car and began walking to the far end of the floor, I joined a couple of other people also wearing tuxes. As we chatted during our decent to the ground level, out the doors, and made our way down the sidewalk it was an interesting twist on what is usually a common occurrence for me. As it turns out, they were the ones headed to a lodge meeting while I was off to some other event. So we parted ways at the entrance to the Grand Lodge and I waked a couple more blocks and into the main lobby of the Convention Center. This is when it hit me… I hadn’t walked through those doors since Fan Fest right before the 1996 MLB All-Star Game. Wow, nearly twenty years.

The networking before the awards dinner was the usual affair with many of us catching up with various companies from the area and reconnecting with those we met last month during Philly Tech Week. Before we knew it (partly because it took so many of us to get into the city and find parking), we were heading up the escalators and finding our seats. While I preferred the venue from last year (Valley Forge Casino) the format for the evening made much more sense combining the awards with dinner (although it would have been nice to have an option other than salmon).

As most awards programs do, the evening ran quite a bit longer than expected and we didn’t start clearing out of the building until well after 10pm. Overall, there were come really interesting companies, nice acceptance speeches, a great recognition ceremony, and a couple of people that should never be asked to speak publicly again (they should have had the music ready for some of the acceptances like at the Oscars). But, we all parted ways having reconnected for an evening and hoping to stay in touch a little more over the next year. At the very least, there are a few more people that I will be certain to say hello to next year at the next awards banquet.